Published: Wed, November 28, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Paul Manafort Denies Meeting WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, Calls Report 'Totally False'

Paul Manafort Denies Meeting WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, Calls Report 'Totally False'

"I've never heard of the Embassy failing to log an Assange visitor, and the Guardian is asking us to believe all three alleged visits, across several years, were not logged".

Paul Manafort, a long-time associate of President Trump and briefly his campaign manager, visited Mr Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy before the Wikileaks website disclosed damaging Democratic Party emails, according to The Guardian.

"Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 - during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump's push for the White House".

The report comes a day after special counsel Robert Mueller said in court papers that Manafort lied to investigators and violated his recent plea deal. The last meeting took place around March 2016, at about the time Manafort joined Trump's U.S. presidential campaign, the news outlet said. A tweet from the verified WikiLeaks account said that Assange has "instructed his lawyers to sue the Guardian for libel over [the] fabricated Manafort story".

So far the parties involved have either strongly denied the report or, like press secretary Sarah Sanders, demurred from commenting upon it one way or another.

"I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him".

A federal judge in Virginia appeared reluctant Tuesday to grant a request to unseal a criminal complaint against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, emphasizing the "compelling interest" the government has in keeping such matters under wraps until he is arrested, should that happen.

Manafort and WikiLeaks both said there were no such meetings.

"This story is totally false and deliberately libellous", said a statement issued through his spokesman.

Mueller's investigators have been examining communications between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks as part of the FBI's Russian Federation probe. One of Mueller's most promising witnesses, Paul Manafort, has recently been accused of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, despite a plea deal.

For more than a year now, Manafort has been at the heart of several unresolved threads of the Mueller investigation.

Sanders was asked on Tuesday whether Trump might lean on acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker who is supervising the Mueller probe; she said the answer should be obvious.

It says the government considered alternatives to sealing, but that any procedure "short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged". In June, WikiLeaks released emails obtained from these hacks.

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